In the past few years, SEGA have been resurrecting several of their dormant franchises such as House of the Dead and Super Monkey Ball, with each of these new entries achieving a reasonable amount of success. The latest in this trend of revivals is Shenmue 3, the long awaited third instalment in the cult classic action adventure series which originated on the Sega Dreamcast. Funded partially through Kickstarter, with additional funding coming from their publishing partners, is Ys Net’s continuation the shining jewel in Shenmue’s crown, or an adventure that needs a few more years of training in the dojo?
The story of Shenmue III continues the journey of Ryo Hazuki, a martial arts disciple who is travelling the world to avenge his father’s murder by a powerful man named Lan Di. After learning that Lan Di has been seen in China, Ryo travels there with his new companion, a young woman by the name of Ling Shenhua. Along his journey, Ryo learns more about the mysterious Phoenix and Dragon Mirrors that Lan Di desires, and their connection to a mystical treasure that can only be found using the ancient artefacts.
Shenmue III’s core gameplay consists of speaking with various NPC’s within each area, interspliced with sections that require you to put on your detective cap, and occasional battles that rely on Ryo’s knowledge of advanced martial arts techniques. The pace of the narrative is distinctly slower than other games of its type and will often require you to wait until a certain time of day before you can perform the next objective. Mercifully, you are now able to instantaneously skip ahead to the required time, instead of waiting around as you had to do in previous entries of the series.